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At a Party

I spoke with two people at the party Saturday. A young police officer, short-haired, fit, chiseled face who had two young children. He felt constrained by the law, without discretion to question mopes (perps) aggressively or to let go those who were obviously no threat. Even at a family function he seemed straight-backed, correct, devoted to his role as our protector (and his children’s) yet I thought perhaps too deeply in debt, indentured to the rules and laws of legislators and destined to be disappointed (or worse). I thought his courage and devotion (to whom or what?) would surely be poorly repaid and that this lesson was necessary to ready him with wisdom for death or further living. I worried like a brother about the unpredictable dangers, even terrors, he must daily face, and the pleasure he takes in facing them. How will he return to the fragility of family, of the soul alone, after wielding the force of the state, the blind, combined will of us all? Next a business exec, retired from a well known global investment firm. At first we talked about the lush beauty of the northeast compared to the arid west (although he loves every inch of the west, too). Then somehow we got beyond light conversation when he complained about the perceived decline in values for instance how the Ten Commandments can’t be publicly displayed. He said we can all agree on God but I said I have a mechanistic view of the universe (although the unknowable always sits just out of reach of the known). I told him my dad’s theory of reincarnation, a good man and a corporate seeker of God also, whose shoes I could never fill unless I swore belief in a supreme being. No hard feelings. Then he told me the story of his dying friend, an atheist, not even a deist like the founding fathers, who opened his eyes for the last time to correct the exec’s misperception that now he’d meet his maker. Having exceeded the bounds of acceptable conversation I went looking for my children. Nothing more to question.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2022

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Book: Shattered Sighs